Forgetting What Lies Behind

Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians from a Roman jail, to encourage them to continue forward in the faith.  In it, he wrote: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made [Christs righteousness] my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”[1]

In Paul’s life, “what lies behind” includes overseeing the stoning of Stephen recorded in Acts 7:57-58, and “ravaging the church, and entering house after house, [dragging] off men and women and committ[ing] them to prison.”[2]  We all have different shameful things in our past, but God forgets them.  His purpose is to always make us more like Christ, even when we struggle to move forward.  The prize is worth it, therefore we “press on toward the goal,” even if our current situation is discouraging and seems hopeless. After all, Paul knew that even prison was temporary and God could wash away all the sins of his past, present, and future to make him righteous like Christ.

[This Rewind Wednesday post is revised from Dec 2021]

[1] Philippians 3:13-14
[2] Acts 8:3

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